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how long does it take to get the programming right?

Hi everyone, am new here and still trying to wrap my head around lots of info and decisions to make, what i really want to know from individuals experience is how long does it takes to get the programming right after a permanent implant? am schedulled/proposed for my scs implant in few weeks but one of my biggest challenge is the follow up care, I have to travel half way across the globe from Africa to Asia to get this done, so am really concerened about post implant programming which is really huge bcos it can undermine the whole procedure if its not properlly done, if i should have any issues there will be no clinics nor reps to turn in my home country. so, on average i would like to know what you guys experience was with getting the programming right,i intend using medtronic.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Really! Im shocked medtronic is doing this. If you do not have access to a rep get a different brand. The programming is everything and takes a full year to "scar in"
  • If your rep sets up your programming correctly, you should have the ability to modify the amplitude, width, and rate of the stimulation. If the contacts in a program group are together, you should also be able to change which contacts your using. If your Rep does this for you, you should be able to tweak and manage your programming on your own for the most part. According to my doctor, it takes a little over 4 months to scar in the leads, so you need to take care in the beginning.

    You could also check to see if your Doctor is willing to purchase a Patient Programmer for you so you can program yourself. Medtronic will not sell you one.

  • It took me three visits, one month to find the correct programming I needed. I did feel like I didnt connect to one rep, and then asked to see another. Once I made this change, the programming was perfect and I havent had to change it yet. I can not say anything bad about my spinal cord stimulator, it gave me my life back, my boys their mom back. If you've had a trial and it worked, I would not think twice about this procedure. I guess it depends on where you are without it? I had no where to go but back to the living.
  • Thank you guys for your response. Actually this seems like the only option i have now,after multiple back surgery even the neurosurgeons are not willing to try another surgery now,also with no effective treatment with medication am left with SCS. I intend to get the programmer so i can do all that stuff myself
  • She said done correctly at implant they could tweak you by phone if needed all kinds of technology
  • I really wanted to just let this one go, but I can't. The Medtronics Rep cannot tweak your unit over the phone. If the programs are setup in such way they can talk you through on tweaking somethings yourself. To change the programming, you need to place the Patient Programmer Antenna over the IPG to perform a programming session. The antenna is hard wired to the programmer. The antenna wire is about 24 inches long at best.
  • so what is the answer
  • To have complete control over the programming, you would need the patient programmer that the Medtronic Rep uses. The programmer will program a stimulator and is also used when doing pump refills and managing the setting of a pump. The Rep was probably talking about making adjustments with the patient hand held device. It can be very powerful if the programming is setup correctly.

  • thank you terriP and back i will take all your suggestions and discuss with my rep, also i guess i just have to be patient about it and take as long as possible time to get it right besides i will be using more than one lead
  • is programming more difficult when you have more than one lead connection or is it still same?
  • backbback Posts: 190
    edited 08/03/2013 - 2:51 AM
    I guess it's about the same. I have two leads and use both leads in some programs to get those hard to reach areas.
  • More leeds more possible combos to try .
    Jester in Ja's court :)
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